Thursday, October 20, 2011

In which wonder who is stealing all my endorphins


I haven't been posting every day because nothing has been different or noteworthy. I go to the gym most days, I start out each day trying to eat well but end up stuffing myself with chocolate and half a block of cheese, and I feel a failure. Nothing new there.

I did seven days of exercise in a row this time but my knees have been hurting a bit (one of the reasons I didn't cycle much on Sunday) so the last two of those days were just walking. And today was a day off. I spent the morning looking for a dress to wear to all the events coming up and eventually managed to find one I don't hate myself in so that was a win. I don't look anything like how I want to look, though. The struggle is to find clothes I don't look terrible in; not to find clothes I look great in. That just isn't going to happen. I looked about eight months pregnant in one dress that had looked lovely on the rack.

I also got my fringe cut today (bangs in the US), which I only mention because of something that happened in the salon. I was walking past a brand new salon which had only opened yesterday and they were handing out discount vouchers outside -- I really needed to get my fringe trimmed so decided to go in. I was the only person in there so had two staff ask me if I wanted tea or coffee and then a woman massaged my hands the whole time the other woman was cutting my hair. Nice. Anyway, the hair-cutting lady went off and brought back a spray bottle to wet down my fringe and the hand-massage lady stopped her from spraying me, saying that that bottle held cleaning fluid! Glad that didn't go in my eyes. I think the staff need to get up to speed about what product is kept in what bottle. I don't think I will be going back.

Both children noticed the "haircut" when I picked them up from school, even though it is only a change from pinning my long fringe back for the past month or so. Husband didn't. Oh well.

I am sick of being tired all the time. I think I have been constantly tired for nearly nine years now. It made sense through pregnancy, breastfeeding, and young children waking through the night; but why now? I talked to my doctor about it a year or so ago and had some blood work done but it only showed low vitamin D (for which I took supplements) and high cholesterol. I thought regular exercise might help but it hasn't. I eat plenty of red meat so shouldn't be iron deficiency (and that should have shown up on the blood work anyway). Today I had a nap on the lounge in the afternoon, I just couldn't concentrate on work.

Of course it could still just be that I am not getting enough sleep. Last night, for instance, we both went to bed reasonably early (10.20 pm) -- Tim usually goes to bed much later than that but he was very tired as he has been working long hours. Anyhoo, I woke at some point after an unpleasant dream. I tried think nice thoughts and go back to sleep, but the same dream kept starting back up. It wasn't anything about real life either, I suppose it was an anxiety dream but I have no idea why. I worked on rescripting it for a happy ending but tossed and turned over it for a long time and kept waking. And then Aiden woke us around 6.30. If I had slept for the eight hours I was in bed, presumably that would be enough. But I wasn't. I have never been a good sleeper, but as a child I just remember a lot of trouble getting to sleep -- not the frequent waking I am experiencing now.

Sleep, or lack thereof, has been shown to have a significant effect on weight. It comes third on the list, after diet and exercise. It think it has its own effect on the body, but it also affects behaviour. I know that when I am tired I can't exercise at optimum intensity, maybe resist exercising at all, and I also turn to food in a search for energy to keep myself awake. (Other things in the top ten list include medication and living in a temperature-controlled environment -- we no longer need to burn calories to heat or cool our bodies.)

So what do I do? I already exercise regularly. I go to bed at much the same time every night. I don't read or watch TV in bed -- sleep and sex only. I don't drink caffine after mid-afternoon (and only tea, I don't drink coffee or cola). I try to have the room at a comfortable temperature -- not too hot. What else is there?

I am not blaming my obesity on my poor sleeping skills. I am just saying it doesn't help.

On to the next bit of my tired rant. Yesterday I was talking to my friend Caroline who was raving about the endorphin rush she gets from exercise. A lot of people seem to get that. My husband does. I don't. Caroline questioned if I exercise at a high enough intensity to get the endorphin release. A fair question in regard to some of my work-outs, I don't always go all-out. But sometimes I do. Particularly on the weekend, when I do group classes that leave me feeling weak and limp. I feel like I give everything. But no endorphin. Just exhaustion. And sometimes depression. People say "I feel so good after exercise!" I don't. Just tired. Maybe it comes eventually. Maybe 14 or 15 weeks isn't enough yet. Maybe I am a sad freak of nature. Maybe my continuing poor eating habits are sabotaging my body's ability to sleep well and feel good from exercise.

But come on, my diet isn't that bad! I'm talking about butter on my corn and a few squares of chocolate every day and fast food maybe once a fortnight. I don't have McDonalds three times a day or anything like that. I eat fruit and vegetables and dairy and protein and even a few wholegrains. Just a few too many indulgences as well.

I'd better go to bed before this rant gets any longer, or I will even start to bore myself. Onwards to tomorrow and a better frame of mind.

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